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Global poverty is decreasing, but billions of people still do not have the resources they need to survive and thrive. Economic growth can reduce poverty, but it can also drive inequality that generates social and economic problems. And efforts at domestic resource mobilization through taxation, though critical to funding the SDGs, can negatively impact the poor. In this work, CGD experts offer suggestions to improve how the world tracks and tackles poverty and the inequities the international global system creates.
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Secretary Clinton will be leaving August 5 for a seven-country tour of Africa. She will hit Kenya, South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde. (Whew!) The itinerary suggests that the theme of the trip will be more real politik than President Obama’s recent visit to Ghana which stressed good governance and was a celebration of Ghana’s recent electoral and economic successes. The Secretary, in choosing the largest economies and the continent’s most influential capitals, is likely to highlight more traditional U.S. economic and security interests. A few thoughts on what to expect -- and what Africa can hope for:
Why do so many businesses choose to remain informal? Vijaya Ramachandran and co-authors discover that the answer is more nuanced than often believed. In East Africa, for instance, the difference in productivity between formal and informal firms is often indistinguishable, while in Southern Africa productivity it is more differentiated. Policies to encourage formalization and increase productivity are likely to be more successful in East Africa, whereas an emphasis on job training and vocational skills might be more appropriate in Southern Africa.
The Latin American Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for Global Development invite you to a seminar on: Poverty, Inequality, and the "New Left" in Latin America
CGD fellow David Roodman and Jonathan Morduch a landmark evaluation of the impact of microcredit on poor households in Bangladesh. They replicate the study's statistical analysis and put an end to the controversy surrounding it by showing that it fails to rule out reverse causation. A positive association between microcredit and household spending, for example, may merely indicate that richer families borrow more. With these studies in doubt, solid academic evidence that microcredit reduces poverty is even scarcer than previously understood.
As part of the "Demographics and Development in the 21st Century" series, CGD Senior Fellow David Wheeler will summarize the cross-country research he conducted with Dan Hammer on the economics of population policy for carbon emissions reduction. Wheeler includes assessments of the effects of family planning and female education on birth rates. Their global results indicate that carbon mitigation as a result of population policy has costs comparable to those of the least costly clean technology options. They also find that family planning and female education have very different carbon abatement economics across countries, so cost-effective policy may require careful targeting. UN Foundation's Timothy Wirth will offer comments.